Having attended the Mountain and Plains Independent Book Sellers Trade Show last week, I am very excited about new young adult literature for the fall and have already read three new surefire hits. David Levithan's Every Day, a creative new novel about a teen who wakes up each morning in a different person's body, is one of my favorites this year. Don't Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon, is being called Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens. Origin by Jessica Khoury is a sci/fi thriller set in the Amazon rainforest.
In Every Day “A” wakes up each morning in a different person’s
body. Learning to adapt, he decides never to get too attached, to avoid being
noticed and to never interfere with the person’s life. Until the day he is in Justin’s body and falls in love with his girlfriend Rhiannon. The following days are spent trying to spend
time with her and find a way to be with her day in and day out. "A" inhabits a wide variety of bodies, including heterosexual, as well as gay, boys and girls from diverse cultures with a variety of problems from obesity to drug addiction. Yet A's intellectual, compassionate
voice dominates, providing a consistent reflection on the events taking place. The author's musings on love, longing and human nature, opined via A's journey, are a thought-provoking catalyst for discussion about the nature of love.
Don't Turn Around introduces Noa and Peter, teenage hackers who are pitted against a corporation that is experimenting on orphaned teens to find a cure for PEMA, a disease that is plaguing the young adult population. Noa, who has been a ward of Child Protective Services since her parents died, wakes up on an operating table in a warehouse, with sutures in her abdomen. After a hair-raising escape, Noa uses her hacking skills to try to find answers, while being relentlessly pursued by those experimenting on her. Meanwhile, Peter finds files in his father's office about the experimentation project and enlists his hacker group, of which Noa is a member, to delve into the subject of those files and then attack the corporation via the Net. When their paths cross, Noa and Peter find themselves running for their lives. Although it is not billed as a series starter, there could be follow-up books to this heart pounding page turner.
Jessica Khoury's debut novel Origin is a refreshing change from the overabundance of paranormal novels currently in the YA market. 17-year-old Pia, who lives in a secret compound in the Amazon, is invulnerable and immortal, resulting from years of genetic engineering. Pia, whose destiny is to create more immortals, knows nothing of the outside world, until she one day escapes into the rainforest and meets Eio, a mixed race boy from an indigenous tribe, to whom she is immediately drawn. When a female cloning scientist arrives at the compound and senses the sinister plans of the other scientists, she encourages Pia's rebellion. The resulting chaos makes for a fast-paced adventure filled with intrigue and romance.
Stay tuned for additional suggestions in the near future.